Buried Treasure: Midnight Legs // Marathon Lungs – Aesthetic Medicine


This is a guest post from Aaron Edwards, better known as Foofer. Aaron has written about music for many years, getting his break on Postrockstar (where he had the weekly column Foofer Fridays), before writing for Echoes and Dust, and now Arctic Drones. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two young children, and hosted me (Joseph) when I was travelling through America in late 2017. I emailed him recently asking if he would like to tell us about any underrated bands who deserve more attention, so he graced us with his writing to promote Boise locals Midnight Legs // Marathon Lungs.

Midnight Legs / Marathon Lungs - Aesthetic Medicine

First and foremost I would love to thank Joseph for letting me come out of my cave and show him how it’s done. This past year has been crazy in a lot of ways, and I think everyone knows how easy it can be for good releases to slip under the radar or fall through the cracks. Midnight Legs // Marathon Lungs is definitely one of those. 99 times out of 100, a début album from a new band is ignored. And it only gets worse in states where the population is less than the number of cows (or potatoes).

Being from my neck of the woods (which I don’t get to say very often) means that they were on my radar from day one, basically. I went to their album release show, and they were kind enough to supply me with my own copy of their CD. For weeks it was all I could play in the car. Their bandcamp page says “We’re not sad. We’re contemplative.” and it’s crazy how true it is. I’m not usually in the mood for ‘Aesthetic Medicine’ unless I’m already inside my own head, or have a long car drive ahead of me. I cannot and will not ever claim to fully understand lyrics, but I can say that I probably do more thinking due to their words moreso than their music.

There’s something raw about the music that’s so appealing. There’s a very strong Slint vibe in a lot of their sound, but they also have a tendency for sounding very Post-Rock, with their bass-heavy melodies and twinkly guitars. However they don’t fall prey to post-rock pratfalls, how they do more strumming than tremolo picking. It’s a breath of fresh air for someone who’s listened almost exclusively to post-rock this past year. Imagine if Slint had made something a little more melodic and peppered it with screaming, and you’ll be close to imagining ‘Aesthetic Medicine.’

Considering that this is a début album for a local band that’s all DIY, the production is surprisingly solid. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered locally and it still sounds better than some of the local stuff that was mixed and mastered elsewhere. Even the acoustic guitar sounds how it should, I can even play it on my phone speaker and it won’t suck.

Overall, I would recommend this album to all the sad bois out there. Since this release they’ve added a keyboardist, so you can look forward to another layer of depth, and another mind to add to their potential which adds up to more than the sum of their parts. It’s not exactly within my wheelhouse of music, I didn’t even think to write about them until Joseph asked me if there was anything I’d want to bring to attention from this last year. However they’re from my neighborhood. They make good music. And while it didn’t make it to my year-end list on Arctic drones, I appreciate what they’ve made and I’m excited to hear more of it.

Midnight Legs / Marathon Lungs links:

Bandcamp: https://midnightlegsmarathonlungs.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/midnightlegsmarathonlungs

Album Review: Ranges – The Gods of The Copybook Headings

Ranges Gods of the copybook headings

I first became introduced to Ranges when C. J. Blessum asked me to review their song “Night & Day” [link to review]. Emails back and forward led to C. J. and I becoming friends, which in turn led me to invite C. J. to become a regular contributor to this site [link to some of his reviews].

Does that mean my reviewing of the new Ranges album is a conflict of interest? Well… yes. Plus, I actually feature on the first track, so I’m extra biased.

But then again, no review is completely objective. So I will write down my thoughts on this album, and you can decide if my opinion is worth trusting.

I recently realised that Ranges are a concept band. Every musical release has a theme (including the signs of the zodiac, teachings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the 24 hour cycle, and a Paul Harvey radio monologue). Initially most songs were entirely instrumental, with only song and album titles suggesting what each song was about, but following on from the recent standalone single”If I Were The Devil“, Ranges have begun to use samples of spoken word and prose in their music.

This most recent album uses Rudyard Kipling’s 1919 poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings as inspiration, with the first song introducing the poem, and the following ten songs written about each respective stanza of the poem.


Copybooks were used in schoolrooms early last century, to help students practice their handwriting. They were lined pages, blank save for idioms and proverbs neatly written on the headings, as examples of ideal penmanship. This is a foreign concept these days, with most children more adept controlling a computer or tablet than a pencil. I distinctly remember “writing lines” being a punishment at school (like seen in the opening scene of each Simpsons episode). But back in the day, handwriting was valued, and repeating phrases of wisdom was the way in which it was learnt.

One can imagine how these phrases would become ingrained in the mind of the student, written and re-written countless times as they improve their handwriting abilities. Biblical verses, adages, and common Victorian sayings learnt through rote writing. Kipling used these as the basis for his poem – a discussion on how traditionally valued wisdoms were being ignored with detrimental effect to society.


Image: http://www.barnes113.karoo.net/History/copy_books.htm

We are introduced to this poem by the titular opening track, read by a number of individuals (including yours truly. Does my New Zealand accent stand out?) The music is eerie and atmospheric, and the spoken word is slightly altered and decayed, as if lost in time.

This seamlessly transitions into “The Gods of the Market Place”, at first with dominant reverberating guitars and crashing drums, followed by soft piano echoing after a few measures. Closing track “With Terror and Slaughter Return” mirrors the sing, effectively bookending the album, almost making it into a loop like they did with a previous release, “Night & Day”.

The post-rock dynamics of building and transitioning from soft to searing continues through the album. Not to say that it gets tired, but the tracks tend to blend together. Overdriven guitars soar, and then drop back to gentle swells and slight picking. The piano provides light atmospheric pads, and articulate twinkling mantras. Restrained drums grow more bolder washy cymbals fill in the soundscape. It’s what to expect if you are at all familiar with Ranges – soothing one moment, and crushing the next.

Ranges embody the DIY ethic. They write, record, produce and distribute music themselves, being lucky enough to have a recording studio and printing company run by members of the band. They are also very supportive of others in the local music scene and indie music worldwide. I would love to see them play live in their hometown, but alas, I live on the other side of the world. I would also love to pour over a physical copy of their album art and liner notes. Having seen other material put out by their printing company (A Thousand Arms), I can assure you that the attention to detail will be stunning.

 One of the idioms the Kipling employees in his poem is “If you don’t work you die.” If this is the case, then Ranges need not fear death. They’ve averaged three releases a year since their conception, all self made, recorded, printed, etc… And not only is their music powerful and vast, but conceptually thought provoking if you chose to engage with it. All is not gold that glitters, but trust me when I say that this album is gold.


Bandcamp link

iTunes album download


Twitter and Instagram handle: @rangesmusic


Joseph James






Red Hands Black Feet We Must Fall Forever if We Survive


Post-rock quartet Red Hands Black Feet from Boise, ID

Is it about the journey or the destination?  If I had to count on my fingers how many times I have had this age old debate I would need another set of hands.  Whether between bandmates while stranded with an overheated van in the middle of Washington or with friends at a casual get together, this argument always tends to find it’s way back into the discussion.  I’ve personally decided that it’s relative.  And yes, my conclusion is technically a destination that required a journey through thought which once again begs the question, which was more important?

Thankfully, Boise’s Red Hands Black Feet has written and released a new album that is all about the journey.  We Must Fall Forever If We Survive is the band’s second release and while the album is entirely instrumental, the underlying concept based around a space traveler’s struggle to stay adrift or return home adds a dimension that requires exploration.  Like well constructed chapter titles, each song title provides a starting point for listeners to delve into their own imagination and explore Red Hands Black Feet’s musical journey.


I Leave You And The Earth Behind” kicks of the record and moves from quiet, well thought out ambience into heavily fuzzed out, rolling ambience that masterfully prepares you for the rest of the album.  After coming to understand the concept behind this album, one can’t help but begin to explore their own imagination as soft and subtle guitar work drifts passed you.  The song continues to build very patiently before launching into an all out overdriven blitz that resolves the song beautifully.

If I Let The Void In…” rolls in quickly with up tempo toms and aggressive guitars that eventually drop off into a bass driven, clean guitar groove.  Steady, systematic drumming carries this song until the tempo begins to wane and break into a more experimental section.  “If I Let The Void In…” has a very contemplative, questioning vibe that fits it’s title very well.

Red Hands Black Feet quickly answer their own question with the third song on their album, “…It Will Set Me Free“.  Beginning with repetitive clean guitars supported by swells and cymbal rolls, the answer is revealed as a very solemn realization.  Maintaining patience and precision, Red Hands Black Feet show their song writing strength as they ebb and flow through emotionally driven pushes and pulls.


It Is Lonely In The Universe” is the longest track on the album and is therefore offered the time and space to explore.  Once again staying true to their song titles, Red Hands Black Feet beautifully craft a soundtrack to aid your imagination in pondering the vastness of space.  Dynamics are explored to their fullest from gentle clean sections to soaring heavy resolutions before the song finally ends with the heart-like beat of the kick drum.

Red Hands Black Feet conclude their sophomore album with “Here We Make Our Stand“.  Entering with driven guitars and heavy, half-time drumming, the song screams defiance and strength.  Like most of the tracks on this album, the finale moves in and out of tonal spaces to add great dynamics to the overall recording.  The expertise and obvious care that was put into writing this album should be evident to even the casual listener.

Red Hands Black Feet have been working through their musical journey for a handful of years now and have truly put together a fantastic album in We Must Fall Forever If We Survive.  I have a deep appreciation for bands who choose to tell a story with their craft, both through their music and the way in which they stitch their songs together to form a congruent and thoughtful album.  Sometimes music is a great way to turn off, but there are other times where turning your imagination on and exploring the musical journey can be utterly fulfilling.

C.J. Blessum